Lady Buffs split pair with Alice Lloyd

By Wes Holtsclaw

   The Milligan College Lady Buffaloes had to battle through a lot Wednesday afternoon against the University of Virginia at Wise.
   The Lady Cobras (17-8) wanted to interrupt Milligan's senior day, and seemed to get the Lady Buffs off track with a 5-2 victory in game one.
   However, Milligan (23-15, 20-8) came through for their seven seniors in the second outing, holding off Wise with a 4-3 home victory.
   "I just thought we played pretty poorly today," said Milligan coach Wes Holly. "The three injuries we've had have really hurt us. We've had some position changes, but that's no excuses. That's what I was telling them, it was just a matter of plain fundamentals out there.
   "I don't think we were focused in the first game," he said. "We didn't swing the bats or hit the ball well. We made a couple of bloop plays that gave them some runs and weren't aggressive coming back at them."
   Milligan held Wise hitless through the first two innings and had forced their first two batters out in the third.
   However, Echo Hagan used a fielders choice to climb on base for the Lady Cobras. Kendall Rainey singled on, setting up a two-run single from Jennifer Law to take a 2-0 lead.
   The Lady Buffaloes got hits from Danielle Gilley and Carissa Ellis, but could never capitalize offensively.
   Both squads were scoreless through the fourth and fifth innings, before Danielle Benton and Heather Gentry made their way on base for Wise.
   Nichole Poore followed them up, smashing a single with an error, bringing two runs across the plate. An error on a Nichole Todd rip sent Poore's courtesy runner (Megan Dean) across the plate to take a 5-0 lead.
   Milligan got going offensively in the sixth inning as Carissa Ellis and
   Jenny Trompower used errors to get on base, while Shelby Banion walked to load the deck.
   Gilley and Brandy Waddle stepped up with a fielders choice RBI and RBI single for the Lady Buffaloes. Miscues on the bases halted Milligan late in the inning.
   Wise did what they had to do defensively in the seventh inning to preserve the victory.
   Wise opened the second contest with the momentum, as Kendall Rainey tripled and scored on a Heather Gentry single.
   The Lady Buffaloes weren't going to let the Cobras get the best of them, with Gilley and Ellis singling and scoring on errors, taking a 2-1 lead.
   Milligan remained hitless until the fourth inning when Jenny Trompower and Waddle opened with back-to-back singles. Erin Bowers stepped up and delivered with a two-run single, giving the orange and black a 4-1 edge.
   Milligan caught a scare in the sixth inning when April Damron and Ashley Baker scored on plays from Beth Matlock and Hagan.
   The Lady Buffaloes battled out of the inning with the bases loaded in favor of Wise. They wouldn't let it happen again, recording three straight outs in the final frame to send the seniors out with a home win.
   "We almost beat ourselves in the second game," Holly said. "We were up 4-1 on them and gave them two basically unearned runs because we were not focused in putting people away."
   Injuries have plagued Milligan this season with senior all-conference
   pitcher Ashley Fine and sophomore Brooke Davis sidelined.
   "We were fortunately able to put Andrea (Henriott) on defense at first base today, but she can't swing the bat," said Holly. "We're probably finished with Brooke (Davis) and Ashley (Fine), because Ashley's having surgery and Brooke's getting over a leg injury. It was doubtful that she would even be back for tournament."
   "I'm proud of them overall," he said. "I guess they're really trying. We've had a pretty strenuous schedule the past two weeks with the weather trying to get our games in. But everybody else is doing the same thing, so we expect them to come out here and be focused and energetic."
   Fine (Elizabethton, TN), Alyson Bowman (Bristol, VA), Rebecca Dawson (Fall Branch, TN), Andrea Henriott (St. Petersburg, FL), Sarah Steele (Paducha, KY), Jenny Trompower (Canton, OH) and Carissa Ellis (Cincinnati, OH) were honored between games.
   Holly is proud of his seniors and their accomplishments at Milligan.
   "They are a great bunch," he said. "I brought in nine at one time, so seven of them are still here. They are a great bunch of young ladies and it's been a privilege to coach them."